5 Ways To Wear Denim To Suit Your Style
Try these fresh updates for the wardrobe mainstay that never goes out of style
Denim, originally designed for hard-working cowboys and miners, is a staple of modern wardrobes the world over. Whether worn as jeans, a jacket, dress, skirt or dungarees, denim never goes out of style, but the ways in which to wear it are always evolving.
Many iconic fashion moments have hinged on a good pair of jeans — Kate Moss and Marky Mark’s Calvin Klein ads; Anna Wintour’s first Vogue cover with a model in jeans and a Christian Lacroix jacket; supermodel Claudia Schiffer sashaying down the runway for Chanel in double denim.
Two weeks ago, Gigi Hadid celebrated her birthday with a star-studded party, featuring a certain indigo blue fabric as the dress-up theme. In the cooler seasons, denim will serve you well as a versatile base on which to build. Try these styles on for size.
SHE'S A LADY
The idea that denim can’t be refined is outdated. A high-necked blouse, a tidy coat and leather boots will all serve to bring a pair of jeans into the realm of the done-up, while a below-the-knee denim skirt is a fantastic work-wear option; just keep the rips to a minimum.
1. Darja Barannik shows how to wear dressed-up denim outside Chanel at Paris Fashion Week fall/winter 2019. Photo / Getty Images. 2. Helen Cherry blouse, $398, from Workshop. 3. Seed Heritage skirt $90. 4. Celine fall/winter 2019. 5. Pixie Market skirt, about $149.
OH, THE NOSTALGIA
Denim’s love affair with bygone eras shows no signs of abating. Seventies-style flares pair well with ladylike blouses, a good T-shirt or sweater. Embrace volume with a high-waisted 80s silhouette — you could go big with an equally voluminous jacket as shown in Louis Vuitton’s fall 2019 collection, or streamline with a fitted turtleneck.
Nineties-inspired fashion never really went away, but this season it’s all about utility. Ever owned a pair of baggy jeans from HBK or Urban Angel? They’re back, says Off-White designer Virgil Abloh. Embrace the skater vibe of baggy jeans with a pair of sneakers like Vans, or inject a different kind of 90s flare with strappy mules and a cropped T-shirt.
For less era-specific vintage inspiration, styles like the original Levi’s 501 will always be a go-to; high-waisted with not much stretch, relaxed in the leg and slightly cropped. Levi’s has also just released a new staple style called the Ribcage Straight; Glassons offers an array of vintage-inspired denim; and it’s always worth scouring op shops for the perfect pair. Trust us, they’re out there.
1. Anthropologie high-rise flared jeans, about $285. 2. Levi's Ribcage Straight jeans, $170, from Smith & Caughey's. 3. Isabel Marant jeans, about $631, from Matches Fashion. 4. Topshop flared jeans, about $78. 5. Louis Vuitton fall 2019. 6. Off-White fall 2019.
Ditch the blues for a bit and delve into one of the many fun coloured denim options on offer this season. Locally, Penny Sage’s zingy lime green jeans and jacket are among our favourites (they also come in pink, with dungarees in the mix too), while two-toned jeans are also having a moment. Arty details are also in focus, with tie dye and embroidery leading the charge on craft-chic.
Denim is being given an eco-makeover, so up the feel-good factor and choose a pair of jeans that are good for your legs and the earth too. Belgian brand Neuw has changed its manufacturing methods and all its denim is washed and processed using recycled water, with no contaminated water discharged into the water grid. It has also removed chemicals such as potassium and bleach.
For the guys, Barkers has an eco-jean collection, which, it says, uses much less water, solar power and air-drying to avoid overuse of commercial tumble dryers. For ethical, sustainable denim from seed to garment, look no further than Kowtow, whose organically-farmed cotton is washed and dyed using Global Organic Textile Standard processes and made with a transparent supply chain.
International shipping carbon footprint aside, California-based Feel Studio Inc crafts its jeans locally, uses vegetable dyes and biodegradable packaging.
Canadian tuxedos have been brought into the modern day, and it’s no wonder given fashion’s current love affair with cowboy style. Whether or not you want to go full yee-haw and pair with cowboy boots is up to you, but we say the more the merrier when it comes to denim. Wynn Hamlyn demonstrates a chic way of doubling up with his Resort 2019 collection. Otherwise a denim shirt tucked into jeans is always effortlessly cool, or even a pair of long shorts and matching jacket.
1. A belted jacket and matching jeans work well in darker denim. Photo / Getty images. 2. Camilla & Marc denim jacket, about $360. 3. Camilla & Marc jeans, about $339. 4. Ganni jacket, about $706, from Matches Fashion. 5. Agolde denim shorts, about $209, from Net-a-Porter.